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S&T: Lauren Darby

December is the month of the solstice, when the Sun appears farthest south in the sky. That means winter for us and summer for Australians. This year the December solstice comes at 12:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on the 22nd — and late on the 21st for those farther west.

Venus lurks low in the southwestern twilight after sunset. You'll need an unobstructed horizon to see it.

But after it gets good and dark, swing around to the east to see dazzling Jupiter, the King of Planets, amid a tower of brilliant early-winter stars that extends from the horizon to overhead. Start with Orion low down, the climb upward through Taurus, Auriga, Perseus, and Andromeda.

This month also features the annual Geminid meteor shower and a total lunar eclipse on December 10th.

You can get to know all these sky sights, and more, by downloading December's audio sky tour. It's a 3-megabyte MP3 file that's 6½ minutes long.


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